Marion School District Newsletter

Home of the Marion Patriots

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Quote of the Month

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” —J.P. Morgan

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Marion School District School Choice Deadline May 1st

Application available at the central office or online at for the 2020-2021 school year.

Marion School District participates in the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 2015: Parents and legal guardians of children residing outside of the Marion School District who are interested in sending their child/children to the MSD for the 2020-2021 school year may pick up an application at the MSD Central Office located at 200 Manor Street. Parents may also download the application from the MSD website at . All applications must be turned in by May 1, 2020 or postmarked no later than May 1, 2020.

Applications do not have to be resubmitted for students currently attending the Marion School District under the Arkansas Public School Choice Act. This notice complies with all provisions of the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 2015.


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VOCTAVE Returns to Marion!

The musical sensation VOCTAVE is coming back to the MPAC Saturday, January 25th at 7:00 PM. It will be a family friendly evening of both Disney and Broadway hits. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased three ways: Online: Marion Schools Central Office Email: Voctave is an 11-member a-cappella group from the Central Florida area. Formed in the winter of 2015, the voices that bring their artistic arrangements to life represent a wealth of diverse backgrounds and musical experiences. Group members have professional roots with Walt Disney World entertainment, but their range does not stop there. From gospel music to musical theater, contemporary Christian to barbershop, pop music to choral specialists, Voctave voices have covered it all both in and out of the a cappella realm. Members of Voctave have performed all over the world and can be heard on countless recordings. The group has performed with Grammy, Dove and American Music Award recipients including Sandi Patty, Kirstin Maldonado, Mark Lowry, David Phelps & Jody McBrayer. With multiple #1 songs and albums on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify, Voctave has also ranked in the top 25 on Billboard Magazine’s charts. Between Facebook and YouTube, they have received more than 100 million views on their videos. Voctave currently has 4 albums that are digitally available on all platforms.
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Marion Proposes Two Innovative Changes for the District

The fundamental structure of our country’s agrarian-based educational calendar and time schedule has not changed significantly in the last two hundred years. However, what we know about the science of teaching and learning has certainly changed remarkably over the same time period, particularly in the last twenty years. Consequently, as a school district, we believe that we have a responsibility to consistently evaluate any research-based models that are not part of our current practice but have the potential to improve the overall learning environment for staff and students.

Recently we have been evaluating two innovations that we feel have merit. One is a new hybrid school calendar. Basically, this model will allow students and faculty to focus more rigorously on a nine week academic session, then take a two week break to rest and recharge for the next nine week session. Students will still attend school for the 178 state-mandated days; however, the days will stretch from near the end of July until early June in a model that we feel has significant potential to improve learning outcomes.

Our second proposed innovation involves school start times. While our start/end times would remain the same for K-6th grade students, we are proposing to delay the start time for 7th-12th grade students by one hour, with a new start/end schedule of 9:00 a.m.-4:15 p.m. Research indicates that later start times can greatly benefit the learning process of teens.

Moreover, this proposed time modification can help address some transportation scenarios that continue to be less than ideal for a significant number of our students. Presently, we have about 300-350 secondary school students who may be required to board our bus as early as 6:15 a.m. to be delivered to school by 7:00 each morning, so that the bus can then start the second leg of a double route. Also about the same number (300-350) of secondary students may be required to wait for a bus 45 minutes to 1 hour each day after school and then may face as much as a 45-minute bus ride home.

Two possible remedies for this regrettable transportation situation have been identified. One is the purchase of 18 additional buses with an estimated cost in excess of $2 million, plus the expense and very difficult task of identifying and sustaining the employment of 18 additional bus drivers.

A second solution is simply to stagger our start times with 7th-12th grade students arriving at 9 a.m., a strategy that, as stated, also provides significant benefits to the learning process for teens. Another option being examined is for our 10th-12th grade students to arrive at 9 .m.

In order to facilitate conversations surrounding the proposed innovations, we held an informational meeting where representatives from numerous stakeholder groups (which included members of the Marion School Board, all district and building-level administrators, members of the certified personnel policy committee, members of the classified personnel policy committee, as well as student and parent representatives) were in attendance. Also, any faculty and staff that are not a member of any of the groups listed above were welcome and encouraged to attend.

For informational purposes, we have included a link to several publications from a variety of respected sources that speak to the science behind the rationale for these proposed modifications.

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Medical/Dental Lab at MHS

Mrs. Castle's year 2 Medical Procedures Expanded classes received hands-on training thanks to the UAMS medical service clinics. Students are practicing medical, laboratory and dental assisting skills with Janet Ligon and Caitlin Howe from University of Arkansas Medical School.

The main goal of UAMS Regional Campuses is to improve the lives of community members across Arkansas. To help accomplish this goal, Regional Campuses works to increase the availability of health care in the community, provide consultation and education for area health care professionals, and offer health education to individuals across Arkansas. More information about each of these efforts is included below.


Local Health Care

UAMS Regional Campuses provides medical services in clinics across the state. These Family Medical Centers emphasize health promotion and disease prevention that may keep a minor issue from developing into a major condition.

In addition to clinic support efforts, UAMS Regional Campuses works to recruit, train place health care professionals and physicians where they are needed throughout the state. These efforts help ensure communities across Arkansas have access to highly qualified health care professionals.

Consultations and Continuing Professional Education

UAMS Regional Campuses contracts with the UAMS Center for Distance Health (CDH) to offer an ongoing slate of continuing professional education through distance technology. These resources allow medical practitioners to stay abreast of the latest information and research with minimal interruption to their clinical work.

The CDH can also help coordinate onsite consultations with UAMS specialists via the telemedicine network. These consultations help the patient get the care they need without the burden of traveling far from home.

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MJHS 7th Grader gives back on MLK Day!

7th Grader Ariel Ross and her father Cameron Ross celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday in the giving of their talents to residents of Willowbend Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center!
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The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children in Terezin

Mrs. Goodman's 8th grade Pre-AP students honored victims of the Holocaust who were in Terezin -a children’s concentration camp- by completing the Butterfly Project. They each received a poem that was written by a child who was in Terezin, and created a butterfly in memory of that child. They used colors/ lines from their poem as inspiration.

The project stems from “The Butterfly” poem from the collection, in which Pavel Friedman mentioned that they never saw another butterfly after they got to Terezin.

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MST Fiction Book Tasting

MST 6th graders embarked on a Fictional Genre book tasting in the library! They got to take a reading personality quiz to see which genre best suited them in order to find a book that they would enjoy to meet the criteria for their Reading class! From Thrillseekers to Romance Enthusiasts to Humorous Fiction and beyond, these students now have the insight to make this assignment enjoyable and relative to their learning!
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The Patriots split their Tuesday night meeting with the Mountain Home Bombers in a pair of games where the three-pointer was the deciding factor. Marion was also able to celebrate two of its boys’ basketball players and the national honors that they received. Seniors Detrick Reeves Jr. and Makyi Boyce were named as nominees for the McDonald’s All-American teams last week. The two received a commemorative plaque recognizing their accomplishment before their first game at Patriot Arena since the announcement. “I think it speaks to just how good they and a lot of the kids in this area are at this game,” Marion coach David Clark said. “I love those two to death. They put in hard work every day and are very deserving of every award or honor that they get. It says a lot about this community and this program to have two guys like that.” The night started with a physical game between the Lady Patriots (8-11 overall, 1-3 5A East) and the Lady Bombers (14-3, 3-1). The Lady Patriots used their inside presence to start out strong, but the outside shooting ability of the Lady Bombers proved to be too much in this contest. The Lady Pats did most of their first half damage in the paint, which led to their 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. However, the Lady Bombers started hitting their shots in the second quarter, including the three-pointer, and trimmed the Marion lead to 24-21 at the half. Mountain Home took the lead in the third quarter, holding Marion to only two made field goals in the third quarter. Marion finally regained their offensive rhythm in the fourth quarter, but the Bombers were able to answer to take the 43-40 win. Up next was a chance for the Patriots (6-10, 2-2) to return to .500 in conference play against the Bombers (11-7, 1-3). Marion used the long-ball to their advantage against the fundamentally sound Bombers. The first two buckets for both teams were three-pointers, but Marion found enough production around the rim for an 18-11 lead after the first. Junior Darrius Waterford made the first two three’s for Marion and senior B.J. Johnson made one as well. The defenses tightened up in the second quarter, but Waterford was able to sink another three-pointer to extend the lead. Marion outscored the Bombers 11-9 in the quarter to give them a 29-21 lead at the break. The second half belonged to Detrick Reeves. After a three-point first half, the senior guard took over, scoring twenty of Marion’s thirty-two second half points. Reeves made half of Marion’s eight three-pointers, all of which came in the second half. Marion came out strong in the second half, outscoring the Bombers 17-9 in the third and 33-27 overall in the half. The 61-48 win is their third-straight over the Bombers. Up next for the Pats is a Friday night road trip to Greene County Tech on January 24. Tipoff for the girls’ game is scheduled for 6:00 pm with the boys’ game beginning at approximately 7:30 pm.

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Marion’s basketball teams split their games on a competitive Tuesday night at Patriot Arena against the Nettleton Raiders. Both Patriot teams focused on playing better defense than in the conference opener. The night started with the Lady Patriots (7-10 overall, 0-2 5A East) challenging the Lady Raiders (14-2, 2-0). Marion had a bit of a size advantage, but was not able to make shots when they counted the most, according to Coach Shunda Johnson. “We’ve not been doing a good job of executing down the stretch,” Johnson said. “We work on that in practice all the time. We can do it, we just need to work on our chemistry, especially around the bucket.” The Lady Pats never trailed by more than twelve, but the Lady Raiders made their shots at momentum-killing moments. Arkansas commit Elauna Eaton scored eighteen for the Lady Raiders in their 59-49 win. Marion junior Jala Henderson led the Lady Patriot scoring attack with fourteen points, followed by senior Keiana Delaney with twelve. Delaney made both of Marion’s three-point baskets. “We’re two games into a fourteen game conference schedule,” Johnson said. “We’ve got twelve more games to get some wins and earn a spot into the postseason.” The Marion boys (5-9, 1-1) played aggressive defense in their twenty-one point win over the Raiders (3-10, 0-2). The win was Marion’s fourth over the Raiders in their last five meetings. The Pats held the Raiders to eight points in the first quarter, but got even stingier in the second. Marion held Nettleton to a four-point quarter and led 39-12 at halftime. “We dominated the boards tonight. You’ve got to be able to do that in this conference,” Coach David Clark said. “Most of our offense tonight came from our defense. We rebounded so well we could push the ball down court and it opened up a lot of opportunities.” Clark said the rebounding was much improved from the previous games. He praised the team as a whole, but was especially impressed with the performances of BJ Johnson and Timothy McDonald. “Those two were animals on the glass,” Clark said. “They’ve been doing it all year long, but we’ve been undersized. They’ve been playing like that all year, but it definitely helped us out.” The main benefactor of the transition offense was senior Detrick Reeves Jr., who finished with a game-high twenty-five points. Reeves made two of Marion’s five three-pointers. The other three pointers were made by Darrius Waterford (nine points), McDonald (five points) and Damien Phillips (four points). Up next for the Pats is a Friday night road trip to Searcy. Tipoff for the girls’ game is scheduled for 6:00 pm, followed by the boys’ game at approximately 7:30 pm.
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Share The Good Stuff

If there are good things happening in your classroom or building, we want to hear about it. Here are a few examples:
  • Exciting field trips
  • Guest speakers
  • Interactive lesson plans
  • Students or staff with remarkable personal stories
  • Favorable academic data
  • College signings, academic scholarships
  • Planned professional development

Send your good stuff with pictures and/or video to Jonnett Gammill at or Tyler Bennett at


Marion School District Newsletter will be disseminated monthly. If you would like your news included in the next edition, please shoot an email to with "newsletter" in the subject line. When submitting news, keep in mind the 5 W's: who, what, why, when, and where. Attach photos and video with your copy.

The deadline to submit information is the 21st of each month.

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